An Eastbourne woman is in the running to become Miss England.
Lois Rayner, who is an assistant sales manager at Betfred in Eastbourne, has already beaten the odds to land a place in the beauty competition’s semi-finals.
More than 20,000 women across the country entered the contest, with just 200 including Lois left with chance of representing their country.
If ex-Ratton School pupil Lois – named after comic hero Superman’s girlfriend Lois Lane – does become Miss England she’d get the opportunity to take part in the Miss World pageant in Thailand where the winner is handed a cheque for £75,000.
Lois, from Shinewater, said, “Even getting this far is starting to change my life. I want to make my mum, family and all my friends who have helped me feel proud.”
Miss England organisers say they are trying to find “strong independent young women from all backgrounds” who are active in their communities by raising money for charity.
Betfred customers at the shop where she has worked for two years at the Langney Shopping in the town say they are used to her “wacky ways”.
Lois said, “The customers are always saying I should be a model. They laugh at me doing my Australian nd Welsh accents…and then there is my party piece doing the Manchester accent of the Betfred boss Fred Done, who is a regular on TV in the shop. I do love northern accents.
“Sometimes the guys in the shop get me to kiss their betting slip hoping it will give them good luck.”
Lois will be competing with fifty other young women in the regional semi-final at Pontins holiday park at Camber Sands in Rye, East Sussex on June 23.
Before then vegetarian Lois, who says she keeps fit playing badminton and going to Zumba dance class, aims to have organised a charity fete and possibly a fund-raising 24-hour dance marathon to make money for a charity helping people at risk of suicide.
She said, “People are always asking about my name which is Lois Jane. My dad was a bit of a Superman fan with a sense of humour as caped crusader Clark Kent’s girlfriend was of course Lois Lane! Nine thousand people, who are mainly from Eastbourne, voted for me which helped get me into the semi-finals – and I want to publicly thank them all.”
Lois was encouraged go enter the competition by her best friend Georgia Gates and mum Susie.
Georgia said, “I saw the competition advertised and immediately thought of Lo Lo. Whenever we are on a night out she gets all the attention as you would imagine.
“I think it’s funny but not everyone does! When people do wolf whistles or come over she has a nice way of dealing with it, just saying she has a boyfriend.
“She really does deserve to win and everyone we know in Eastbourne thinks that too. She is confident, outgoing – and stunning.”
Lois’ mum Susie, 56, said, “I’m proud of her for getting this far but to be Miss England would be amazing. I have always told her how lucky she is to be so beautiful. She is kind too … and so very happy, always smiling.”
One of Lois’ customers taxi driver Wayne Westcott said, “She’s pretty cool and always laughing. I’d put a couple of quid on her being Miss England!”
While another customer Peter Miller, aged 70, said, “She is always very polite – and her impersonation of Fred takes some believing. It brings the house down.”
Betfred boss Fred, who agreed to sponsor her bid for Miss England fame, said, “She’s the jewel of the south coast as far as I’m concerned. She’s already wowed our punters – and now she’s a sure bet to take on the world.
“I have to say she’s a bit cheeky doing me as part of her repertoire but it proves she has a sense of humour or is very brave!”